Welcome to Limassol (Lemesos)
Limassol is known as Lemesos to the locals. This gives me a chance to explain just a little bit of the Greek alphabet. Lemesos is Λεμεσός in the Greek script. But the sound is exactly the same. That is because Λεμεσός like most Greek words are pronounced exactly as they are spelled. So Λ=L (uppercase), ε is very like the English e, and pronounced the same, μ is m, (many might recall this as the mathematical symbol from Micro, and this helps remember it as an m), σ is very like the English s, when handwritten, and it is pronounced the same, and ό is simply an o with an accent above it. Helpfully, in Greek, they put an accent above any letter in a word that should be emphasised. `Finally, the ς is just another way of writing an s, but the Greeks write it like this when it is at the end of a word. So now you know that if you see Λεμεσός, you read it as Lemesos. And you know the last part of the word is the part to be emphasised in speech, like Lemesos.
To the west of Limassol is the Akrotiri Area of the British Overseas Territory, where there are British bases including a Royal Air Force base. Britain, though has recently conceded a large part of the unused land to Cyprus, because the locals like to trap birds there, including songbirds, for food. So don’t expect to hear a lot of songbirds in Cyprus. It is very rare to hear a bird singing, unless it is in a cage. We might think of that as horrifying and brutal, in the same way we think of the French who do that, blasting everything in sight during hunting season. However, it is part of the very ancient Cypriot culture.
Personally, I think they price they pay is the dearth of birds. You don’t get to hear the beautiful songs of birds in many places, or see them fluttering about, and that is the price Cypriots pay for the habit of killing them.
This is not meant to put you off Limassol, which is a great city to visit, but just to make you aware of one thing that will be missing. It is more than made up for by all the rest that Cyprus has to offer.
Conquered by Richard the Lionheart, who sold Cyprus to the Knights Templar, and then to Guy of Lusignan a French Poitevin knight, sold again to sold again to Venice by the Cypriot Queen Catherine Cornaro, before being conquered by the Ottoman Empire, (hence the Turkish claim on Cyprus), Limassol being central to much of this, the city has a rich history, and this is not to mention the previous Roman occupation and the dark hand largely unknown history before the Roman Empire.
Mentioning this point there is a story that St Helen brought hundreds or thousands of cats to Cyprus to help control the snake population. Now there are over 1.5 million resident cats in Cyprus, mostly strays, and you can thank them for the fact that snakes are practically unknown in Cyprus now, except up in the mountains.
However, the locals do not as a rule treat cats well, and there are many abandoned cats to be seen wherever you go. Do them a favour, and carry some cans of cat food in your car, stopping to feed strays when you find them. Not only is this practice a kindness that makes you feel good at having helped one of the innocent, it helps ensure you, your children, or your grandchildren, don’t get bitten by snakes!
Limassol is a big city, by Cyprus standards with a population, including rural, of around a quarter of a million, and there are plenty of things to do.
Although Limassol is not in itself one of the more popular holiday destinations, it has a reconstructed medieval castle,
a huge seafront promenade, its own zoo (like Paphos), and it is a short trip to the delights of Ayia Napa, with its historic and beautiful Cathedral. There is also a UNESCO-protected archaeology park, slightly out of the way, but not hard to get to, and there excavations allow you to see the fascinating building techniques of the ancient builders, and to touch a building that the ancients used to throw people off a cliff for touching.
There is also Akti Olympion, known as the Blue Flag Bay. (Not sure why), but it has a fantastic stretch of beach where you will find people running, sunning themselves and swimming from late spring to late summer.
Known for frequent festivals, Limassol is the most southern city in Europe.
You can find out more about Limassol on the official website: Limassol
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